This is personal Chef Neil Wilson. He used to be in the army—-but now he makes delicious ravioli (seen here in its pressed dough, pre-stuffed from). Before becoming a personal chef, Wilson attended L’Academie de Cuisine and then worked as a line cook for Palena.

Here are some of his cooking tips:

  • Buy this book:The Flavor Bible. Look up any popular ingredient, and it will provide a rundown of complimentary herbs, spices and foods, and other cuisines in which the ingredient is featured.
  • Every time you add a major ingredient to a dish, add a pinch of salt.
  • Lemon zest is an easy way to enhance a dish—-but only use the very top of the lemon. Once you see white, you’re getting the bitter stuff.
  • Tired of eating left-over thanksgiving day side dishes? Just put them in home-made ravioli, freeze them, and eat when you desire. Good side dishes to consider: Creamed spinach, mashed sweet potatoes (with a little added cheese), roasted squash.
  • Here’s an easy, sure-fire pasta sauce recipe that will make anyone believe you’re a personal chef: Toast fennel seeds until you start to smell the scent wafting around kitchen. Take them out. Put them on a plate and set them aside. Then, in a pan:
  • Slowly cook onions over a low heat, so they don’t brown too much.
  • Add a “seasonal twist”—whatever’s tasty then: Zucchini, squash, carrots, celery.
  • Throw in a can of san marzano tomatoes.
  • Add some diced garlic cloves.
  • Cook for an hour.
  • Then, add in the toasted fennel seeds and a cinnamon stick.
  • Cook for another 55 minutes. Then add in black olives and cook for another five minutes. Done.